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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

In the time I went to school, I don’t remember ever having a teacher use this writing prompt. That may have been because I grew up in an agricultural community in Southwestern Ontario.

Corn tassel

Corn tassel

Summers meant hoeing beans, picking cucumbers, picking tomatoes and/or detasseling corn.

It was hard work and no one wanted to relive the experience in a school essay. When you lived on a farm, you worked on a farm.

Sometimes there were swimming lessons at the little pool in town, but I usually only got there for the July lessons. By August, there was too much work to do. As a result, I never moved pass Advanced Beginner. Although, I did have a pretty good dog paddle.

When I was twenty-four, I signed up for swimming lessons at the local YMCA and finally passed my Advanced Beginner and now I love to swim.

This summer, I was in the little town of Deep River, Ontario. One of my best summer vacation memories is jumping off the boat into the warm deep water of the Ottawa River on a hot sunny day.

Oiseau Rock

That’s me on the far right, swimming with Makita, Liz and Ryan in the Ottawa River by Oiseau Rock.

Other than my trip to Ontario, I didn’t do a lot of summer vacation stuff because I was focused on the WIP. The Working Title is HIGHBURY and it’s almost finished. Almost. I am smoothing out the last two scenes and tying up loose threads. Along the way with this book, I discovered it was actually the Second book of a series. Once I am completely finished with it, I will begin the First book of the series. Nothing like starting in the middle.

Guardians of the GalaxyI missed most of the summer movie fare, but I did see Guardians of the Galaxy. If you like the Marvel movies (The Avengers, Ironman) you will probably enjoy this one. I did. As usual, Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance. What a guy.

We had one BBQ in the backyard this summer with a few friends sitting around the fire. I will make sure to have at least one more BBQ in the warm days of Indian Summer.

And I only went hiking once, to Johnston Canyon, so I must make time to do at least Larch Valley this fall.

2014-09-02-yoga-FreeDigitalPhotosdotnetThis summer, I signed up for an eleven-week session of drop-in Yoga. The Summer Sizzler. Turns out I love Yoga and I managed to get to 28 classes. I’ll go back to swimming at the Y this fall, but I want to do more Yoga.

Did you swim in any rivers, lakes or oceans this summer? Did you see any blockbuster summer movies? Did you take up any new sports or activities? How did you spend your Summer Vacation?

beach chairs from Bigstockphoto.com #5904213
corn tassel from Wikipedia
Guardians of the Galaxy movie poster from Internet Movie Database imdb.com
yoga from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

HADSON Reunion

HADSON Reunion

Since the tenth year after graduation, our reunions have been held every five years. This latest one took place at the Nottawasaga Inn north of Toronto from Friday, September 14 to Sunday, September 16.
 
The original class had 79 students and over 30 of them showed up. We entertained ourselves with the scavenger hunt, the bonfire, the drinks & nibbles in the hospitality suite, the excellent dining at the Inn, early morning water running, mini golf and, of course, the school song.
 
Photo ops abounded, old stories were embellished (slightly) and friends reunited.  The next planning committee volunteered and we’ll do it all again in another five years.
 
For me, each time we reconnect, it becomes more special. We studied together, worked on wards together, shared meals together. We helped each other through tough assignments and personal crises. We are nurses who lived together in residence for 22 months. A camaraderie develops when you do that. These women are my sisters and among the most important influencers in my life.
 
Do you have a class like that? Do you attend reunions? Do you feel that twist of excitement and nostalgia?
 
Family Reunion

Family Reunion

Somewhere in southwestern Ontario, the Jubenville Clan has met every year since 1977. Jill brought out the notebook that Aunt Rebecca started way back in 1977 and my name is in there. I’ve missed quite a few reunions but I signed in again this year.

Mike and Greg grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Ted brought his solar oven for making smores and Aunt Marie brought cherry pie and rhubarb pie. There were quite a few other potluck entries and I loved the devilled eggs.

Family started arriving about 1 o’clock. Many of us had not seen each other since last year. News was exchanged, old stories were retold, photos were taken and the kids loved the pool.

As usual, I brought name tags. Madison was in charge of naming everybody. Aaron says we need a printed out family tree to refer to. That’s on the list for next year. It will be on Sunday June 23.

Do you have family reunions? Every year? What’s the furthest you’ve travelled to be there?

photo from istockphoto.com #0000194830

Search and Destroy

Search and Destroy

Back in the day, my cousin’s dad grew a tobacco crop in Ontario. As the tobacco grows, little lateral shoots appear between the bigger leaves. They’re called “suckers” and if they aren’t removed, they will rob the plant of nutrients.

My cousin Mary excelled at suckering. She would start at the top of the plant and using her thumbs she could flick off those suckers in a few seconds. And then she’d move on to the next plant. It was hard summer work.

Your manuscript is probably littered with little suckers. When you’re editing you need to remove them, or they will rob the nutrients from your prose.

Some of the most common suckers are:

just, very, that, up, down, out, a little, nearly, somewhat

Using your Find function, search out each of these suckers, destroy them, and you will have a healthier piece of writing.

What kind of suckers do you find in your manuscript?

photo from iStockphoto.com #0000134608

‘Tis Hallowe’en

‘Tis Hallowe’en

‘Tis Hallowe’en.
The lamp is lit,
And round the fire the children sit,
A-telling ghost tales bit by bit,
‘Til sister Jane says HUSHHHHHHH!
 
Back in the day, on the farm, I was the older sister who led my sibs across the Scane Side Road to our only neighbouring house on All Hallows Eve.
 
We spent a fair amount of time dressing up for this event: a witch hat made of bristle board, several paper grocery bags with eye cut-outs, lots of old clothes.
 
“What am I supposed to be?”
 
“An old lady.”
 
Preschoolers are always happy to dress up as old ladies. I don’t think we ever had an actual mask. Occasionally we borrowed the broom. Not a witch broom, a push broom. Nobody cared.
 
In the dark night of rural southwestern Ontario, we set out down the lane and along the road a little way, to Lloyd and Jean’s house. I remember the smell of corn fields, and shuffling through the maple leaves, and the wind blowing witch clouds over the moon.
 
Lloyd and Jean Reeves, a retired couple, had grandchildren somewhere else. They handed out apples and popcorn balls and cookies, along with handfuls of those caramel candies in the black and orange wrappers. They’d spend about fifteen minutes filling up our paper bags and pillow cases.
 
And then we’d make the journey back home, sit down at the big table in the kitchen and enjoy our feast.
 
Do you have memories of long ago Hallowe’ens?
 
And does anybody know what those candies in the black and orange wrappers were called?
 
jack-o’-lantern from photos.com #89680710